Hospitals in coastal counties have begun evacuating patients to health care facilities in more inland counties, including Advent Health in New Smyrna Beach, Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, and Halifax Psychiatric Center North in Volusia County, state officials said.
TALLAHASSEE – With Hurricane Dorian pounding the Bahamas, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that the Category 4 storm “has shown what it is capable of.”
Forecast models still show the slow-moving hurricane nearing the Florida coast Monday and Tuesday before turning north without making landfall. That movement will shape how damaging the storm is to the state, DeSantis said.
“When and how that’s done is going to be critical on impacts on the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
Counties from Palm Beach north to the Georgia border have all issued coastal evacuations. A hurricane warning is in effect from Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia County line.
A storm surge warning has been issued from Lantana to the Volusia County line.
Seven hospitals in these coastal counties have begun evacuating patients to health care facilities in more inland counties, including Advent Health in New Smyrna Beach, Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, and Halifax Psychiatric Center North in Volusia County, state officials said.
Seventy two nursing homes and assisted living facilities in coastal counties also have begun evacuating residents to other facilities because of concerns about possible structural damage from the storm. The number is likely to change, state officials said.
While as many as 60 percent of nursing homes have not yet installed back-up generators or alternate power sources in the wake of the 2017 deaths of several patients at a Hollywood Hills nursing home following Hurricane Irma, only four of the facilities now sending residents elsewhere do not have back-up generators, said Agency for Health Care Administrator Secretary Mary Mayhew.
DeSantis also suspended tolls Monday in the Jacksonville area to help keep traffic flowing for those who choose to evacuate. The First Coast Expressway and Interstate-295 have been added to roads, including Florida’s Turnpike and Alligator Alley, where tolls have been lifted.
Florida seaports from Miami to Port Canaveral have closed, DeSantis said. He expected Port Jacksonville to close once the storm nears Northeast Florida, when southern ports are likely to reopen.
“We are in a situation where the storm is stalling very close to our coast. It is going to make a movement. And the movement that it makes is going to have a lot of impact on Floridians,” DeSantis said.
This story has been written and syndicated across GateHouse Media Group's 22 Florida markets.